PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Sowing Sacred Community in Dorchester
Connect | Create | Celebrate | Center | Collaborate
New Roots is excited to partner with ArtsEmerson and Boston Public Library for a citywide read of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. This novel highlights the themes of ecological crisis, social chaos, and explores the role of spirituality in the midst of it all. Inspired by the themes in Butler’s novel, New Roots is committed to collaborating with Dorchester-based organizations to cultivate spaces for people across Dorchester to learn, create, play, ask questions, dream, vision and build together.
C O N N E C T
Neighborhood-based book clubs all over Boston will read Octavia E. Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower. “Butler's best-selling 1994 book was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The novel tells the story of a young woman who lives in a not-so-distant America where climate change has driven society to violence and the brink of extinction. When she loses both family and home, she ventures out into the unknown. What begins as a desperate fight for survival leads to something much more profound: a startling vision of human destiny that births the seeds of a new faith.”
We will offer several Parable Book Clubs in Dorchester:
Saturday Brunch Book Club
Location: Between Melville Ave and Park St.
Dates: February 15th, February 22nd and February 29th
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
Wednesday Evening Book Club with Priscilla
Location: Upham's Corner
Dates: January 29th, February 5th and February 12th
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Sunday Brunch Book Club with Rev. Sabrina
Dates: February 23rd, March 1st and March 8th
Time: 11:00am - 1:00pm
One Session Book Club with Rev. Mariama White-Hammond
Location: VietAID (Fields Corner)
Date: Saturday, February 22nd
Time: 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Book Club with Rev. Mariama White-Hammond - Kid-Friendly Options
Location: Epiphany Early Learning Center (Shawmut)
Date: Saturday, March 21st
Time: 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Are you actively engaged in a pre-existing book club? Would you like to host your own book club with your friends, at your organization or place of work? Register your pre-existing book club at www.parableread.com.
The Parable Read culminates with a Spring Forum conversation with
Toshi Reagon and Rev. Mariama White Hammond at the
JFK Library and Museum on Friday, March 13, 2020. More details to come.
C R E A T E
Black Cotton Club: Parable of the Sower
The Black Cotton Club is a space to collaborate, create and be.
It is an organized Jam Session with a Live Band, Good Vibes and Good People.
Artists sign up on the list, solo but enter the stage with other artists.
With the assistance of a Live Band, artists are challenged to use each other's voices to
create sound based on themes. Artists are challenged to use the power of soul to flow through them and their art.
Please click here to read more about The Black Cotton Club.
The February session of the Black Cotton Club will highlight and
reflect the themes presented in Butler’s novel, Parable of the Sower.
Date: Friday, February 28th
C E L E B R A T E
Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower Performance at Emerson
Music and Lyrics by Toshi Reagon in collaboration with Bernice Johnson Reagon
Date: Sunday, March 29th
Location: Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
New Roots will attend this culminating production during the time of our weekly church service as a celebration of Butler’s novel, Toshi Reagon’s theater adaptation and the collaborative organizing inspired by these works.
“Returning to ArtsEmerson as a fully realized staged production after its sold-out 2017 workshop production, Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower brings together over 30 original musical anthems and requiems drawn from 200 years of black music to adapt Octavia E. Butler’s sci-fi, Afrofuturist masterpiece for the stage.
Parable of the Sower tells the story of a young woman who lives in a not-so-distant America where climate change has driven society to violence and the brink of extinction. When she loses both family and home, she ventures out into the unknown. What begins as a desperate fight for survival leads to something much more profound: a startling vision of human destiny that births the seeds of a new faith. With music and lyrics composed by Toshi Reagon in collaboration with her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Parable of the Sower is a triumphant, mesmerizing theatrical work of rare power and beauty that illuminates deep insights on gender, race and the future of human civilization.” - www.artsemerson.org
New Roots plans to attend the performance on Sunday, March 29th at 2 pm. To reserve a ticket within the New Roots seating block, please email .
Click here for more information and general ticketing information!
C E N T E R
New Roots Sunday Service with Rev. Mariama and Toshi Reagon
This Sunday afternoon service inspired specifically by Parable of the Sower. The sermon offering will be a collaboration between Rev. Mariama White-Hammond and Toshi Reagon. The service will be a grief/healing service where people have the space to name and mourn the harsh realities of our ongoing ecological crisis. This service will be inspired by Butler’s text, especially Earthseed: The Books of the Living, which is a collection of sacred texts from the religion created by the main character, Lauren. Each chapter begins with a quote from Earthseed. For example, the first chapter is prefaced by, “All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change. God Is Change” (3). The interfaith and cross-organizational nature of this service intends to foster the development of the beloved community.
Date: April 2019
C O L L A B O R A T E
Dorchester Community Roundtable
Time and Location details are forthcoming
Following the production of Parable of the Sower at Emerson, we plan to gather Dorchester community members, leaders and partners. This gathering of community leaders will center the themes present in the novel, as they relate directly to life in Dorchester: the impending threat of flooding, migration, displacement, and isolation. Parable of the Sower will serve as a grounding point for the conversation. The narrative of Parable of the Sower might serve as a way to position our community, to dance together, rather than the only workaround or alongside one another.
Butler’s message communicates that the assault on the environment mirrors our behavior toward one another. While reflecting on the writing process, Butler says, “I looked at the growing rich/poor gap, at throwaway labor, at our willingness to build and fill prisons, our reluctance to build and repair schools and libraries, and at our assault on the environment” (337). By holding space for a Community Roundtable, New Roots hopes to strengthen the Dorchester community’s multi-faceted approach to issues like climate change, immigration, gentrification, public transit, etc. in a coordinated and collaborative effort.
“All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change. God Is Change.”